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The Cross of Bethlehem

The Cross of Bethlehem II

God's Justice

it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a toothMatthew 5:38

 

 

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Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
5:12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Three verses deal in this text directly with the Justice of God and Christians are told to pursue it, despite the promised suffering to those attempting that. Shortly afterwards, Christ is even more explicit:

5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Later he adds that John the Baptist - who preached to return to God - preached the way of justice:

21:32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

From this follows that the way of justice is the road leading to God and His Kingdom.

The next step is understanding what is the way of justice. Many texts in the Bible teach that, I chose to bring here a few:

Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

In other words: denounce evil.

The following text adds a very clear list of deeds we must do to follow the path of justice:

Mathew25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
25:32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
25:35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
25:38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
25:39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
25:42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
25:43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
25:44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Moreover, Jesus explains that sometimes, following the way of justice means breaking the Mosaic Law:

Mathew 12:1 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat.
12:2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.
12:3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
12:4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?
12:5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
12:6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
12:7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
12:8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
12:9 And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:
12:10 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.
12:11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?
12:12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.
12:13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.
12:14 Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.

These texts are very clear. Others repeat the same message. It seems almost superfluous to speak about such a theme to a Christian congregation. Yet, are we busy doing what Jesus requested? Aren't we mainly preoccupied with other issues that may be easier and less conflictive than following the path of justice?

Didn't Jesus order us to shine before men?:

Matthew: 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Didn't He command us to teach the nations His teachings?:

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

How can we claim to be His followers when we did not speak against the assassination of innocents in Gaza in January 2009? How can we shut up when the testimonies of the assassins are openly published on the main newspapers? Where is the Christian Church when it needs to denounce the cowardly assassination by snipers of old people, women and children? Where is the Christian Church when there are thousands of families that were left without homes? Are we feeding them? Are we clothing them? Aren't we behaving in the same shameful way that followed similar events in the past? Shouldn't we be more like Rachel Corrie and stand in front of the Israeli assassination machine in its evil way of destruction?

Let's pray for the victims.

 


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